Logan Valley

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Whiskey Merchant
I'll try this. The first pictures will be an overview of the layout. It's not a large layout, but as I have mentioned, I really enjoy switching, and this is what the layout was built for.
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The first picture is what I call Gallatin Junction (Gallatin Gateway) which is at one end of the line. The main line is on the lower left of the picture, which head to hidden staging, and also connects to Logan, at the other end of the layout. The second picture has Gallatin Junction in the foreground, and the town of Churchill in the distance. The third picture is overlooking the yard and engine facilities at Gallatin Junction, and the town of Anceny is in the distance against the far wall. The main line then comes into Churchill and then down grade to Logan. In the foreground of the last picture is an area that will be a lumber mill.

I'll add more pictures to this post shortly.
Wonderful job, Montanan, as with all your posts.

The large poles on the rail cars looked like Ponderosa pine to me. It is neet to see the different diameter materials, just like a real load would look...



Active Member
Looks great! I'm curious about your backdrop-how'd you do it? Also, how high is the ceiling? Is the railroad the NP or the Logan Valley?


Whiskey Merchant
The backdrop has been around for years, Walthers "Instant Horizons". I think they have been up for over 20 years. I have to get some more to complete the layout as you will see in furure posts. The ceiling is seven and a half feet high. I did lower the drop ceiling so I could put the fluorescent fixtures in.

The railroad is a freelance railroad. I grew up with relatives working on both the Northern Pacific and the Milwaukee Road, but didn't have enough room to do either railroad justice. The Logan Valley is a short line/branch line railroad. It connects to the NP at the town of Logan, and to the Milwaukee Road at Gallatin Gateway. I had a real good friend who passed away years back and we worked our freelanced railroads together. His road, the Gallatin Canyon and Western connected with the Logan Valley at Gallatin Gateway and went south to West Yellowstone, MT where it connected with the Union Pacific. He had the whole lower level of a building for his layout. Southbound traffic from the NP would be pulled out or Logan, MT to Gallatin Gateway, where the GC&W would take the train south. By connecting to both the NP and the Milwaukee Road, I have the opportunity to have power from both of these railroads show up in my railroad.

Besides being a bridge line, the Logan Valley serves 4 towns. A railroad need a reason to exist, so by serving these towns, more freight is generated. I tried to tie as many industries together as possible. Cattle loading pens take cattle to a meat packing plant, and meat then heads t either the Milwaukee Road or the NP to points beyond. Lumber from a small logging spur takes timber to a lumber mill (still to be built) and then lumber to industries on the Logan Valley and also points beyond. Grain elevators haul grain to a flour mill in Logan, and then to points beyond.

This was built as a switching layout and local switching will keep you busy for hours. A switching problem is at every town (on purpose). Instead of having the main line loop through the layout numerous times, the main line passes through the layout only one time, leaving precious real estate for towns and industries to detail. I model the area where I live and with the knowledge of the area was able to come up with a workable plan. The towns are larger than the real ones, but in my freelance world, these towns could have grown with the industries and jobs thanks to the railroad.


Whiskey Merchant
Oontinuing on

Hereare a few more pictures showing the rest of the layout, which is finally moving to completion of the main line. I chose to use code 70 rail in HO because I personallt think the lower profile track looks better, especially for a short line railroad. I started hand laying the track, but yeas ago my Kadee spike gun took a dump for the last time and it was extremely difficult to get any code 70 track and turnouts. Thanks to the many e retailers that have come on line in recent years, I have finally been able to get the Shinohara track I needed.

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After passing through the town of Churchill, it passes the Van Dyke farm and drops down grade in the last two pictures into the Logan, where the locomotive is, or diverges to the left and through the tunnel portal to hidden staging tracks, which also connect to Gallatin Gateway. Trains can also run continuously using the staging tracks. Usually freight cars will be taken from either of the yards and made into trains that would be taken off to either the Milwaukee Road or NP to points beyond.
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Whiskey Merchant
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This is the last town on the layout, Logan. It of course is under construction. Unfortunately, it's not progressing as fast as I would like. Too much going on in the summer. We have some of the background buildings assembled, along with some of the businesses in town. A roundhouse and turntable have been started, and some of the building kits for the engine servicing area. The coaling tower had to be modified to fit. The tracks to the turntable haven't been permanently set yet as I am waiting to complete all of the necessary buildings and facilities so the placing can be set so the tracks won't have to be moved. Progress will hopefully improve as winter comes.

I'll go from one end of the railroad to the other in future posts showing some of the industries and go from one end of the layout to the other.


Whiskey Merchant
Great layout. Really well thought out and executed. I love it up there in MT. I spent a couple summers working outside the park in Wapiti WY, and wandered around all of that area gold prospecting. I should have filed a claim in a spot where I was having some luck up by Cooke City, they probably would have bought me out when that big operation went in there a few years back. Enjoyed a memorable Fourth of July in Red Lodge one year, it snowed even! Well, at least I don't have to shovel sunshine all winter down here in AZ where I am these days and the water doesn't get solid on me when I am trying to pump it through my gear either. Keep your pressure up and your sand dry!
Just make sure that your A/C is working and cranked up. A good excuse to work on the layout. Stay inside in a nice cool train room.


Master Mechanic
Actually the post should have read,"That is until SWMBO wants a new hair-do, purse, shoes......:rolleyes:"

My wife pointed that out to me and my reaction was, "Yes, Dear" ;)


Whiskey Merchant
Starting off

This is the town of Gallatin Gateway, one end of the railroad.
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The Meadowgold Dairy and freight house are a couple of the customers for the LV. The turntable is a scratchbuild that I really can't take credit for. It was built by the late Pete Ellis of Cascade, MT and was donated to me when he had to demolish a town to build an addition to his layout. It is powered by a motor from a player piano. This was built about 30 years ago before we had all of the goodies we have now. You do what you have to to get things done.

The third shot is the Gateway Café, with a fully detailed interior. Best food in town. The last is looking down Mill St past the grain elevator towards the turn table.

Sure wish I could post more than 4 pictures per post.


Whiskey Merchant
Leaving Gallatin Gateway, the main line passes over the Gallatin River and the fishermen below, heading to the town of Anceny.

IMAG0313.jpg After crossing the river, there is a spur leading to a log loading facility. these logs will be taken to the yet to built mill in Gateway, and then the lumber will not only go to points beyond the layout, but to other industries in town on the layout.

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#184 has just left the town of Anceny, Heading to Gateway.



Whiskey Merchant
Here are a few shots of the town of Anceny, which is still under construction. I am trying to find certain detail items and have a couple of structures to scratchbuild for the town.

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The diner apparently has good food as there are always vehicles parked there. Customers served in this town are a grain elevator, freight station, oil distributor and a cattle loading facility. I sure wish I could locate the detail parts I need to complete this town.
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I like your log yard and the log loading operation.

What kind of stuff are you looking for? I spend a lot of time browsing the online train stores, all 5 pages of them, and maybe find something you could use.

Great Project! logandsawman


Whiskey Merchant
Mostly small detail items. I guess I should get a hold of a new Walthers catalog. I have seen a few on line, but not quite what I'm looking for. I have searched a number of e-retailers but unfortunately, many of them don't have a very good description. I've been working on this for over 20 years so a few months extra won't hurt. I'll also need a bunch of details for the last town that I am currently building. When I see them, I will know.


Whiskey Merchant
Continuing on, Here's a closer shot of the diner. A Walthers kit, with a detailed interior. The Cattle loading facilities are passed as we leave town. An oil distributor is just out of the picture to the right. This town was torn out and rebuilt to make room for too many customers in too small a space. I think I have it the way I want it now.

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The next town on the layout is Churchill. As the tracks enter town, they pass behind a couple of residences and pass the passenger station.

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Whiskey Merchant
Between the two homes and the passenger station, is a small park, a gathering place during warm weather for the local residents. Next to the park, is the passenger station. No fancy streamliners on this railroad. The leased RDC with a club car is the best we've got for this short line railroad. As you move down the ladder, there's a gas electric and then a drovers caboose following the local freight train.

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Across the street from the park is the local Chevy dealer. This I believe is possibly the easiest way to set your time period. If you haven't guessed, it's 1957.

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I really like what you've done and where you're going with this layout. My little 4X8 was set up with two separate scenes with switching problems and this could keep a couple busy for some time. I can imagine that a whole afternoon or evening could pass without realizing it. My time frame was 1955. I could still run steam.



Whiskey Merchant
I appreciate the comment. I grew up in the transition period and watched the last of the steam slowly go away. For me this is a very interesting time period. The next picture is of the scratch built freight station. Freight stations were very important during this period of time, especially in smaller communities. There were no interstates back then, and over the road trucking was not going to happen for many years. We had no UPS or FedEx, and most everything that small communities needed came into the freight station. Clothing, machinery, dry goods, some food, farm supplies and on and on. The railroads did have REA, the Railway Express Agency that would pick up and deliver goods to customers. Small local trucking companies could also do these duties. Don't overlook a freight station during this time period. Next to the Freight station, is the Tschache (pronounced Shocky) oil distributor. This was sort of a gag. We had a local friend who's parents made their fortune in the oil industry years ago so as a joke on Junior Tschache, I built this facility.

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The next shot is old #99 performing its switching duties. There are five industries back against the wall that present the switching problem. A furniture factory seen to the left of the Chevy dealer, Vincent supply in the last picture here which supplies lumber, hardware and farm supplies. On the same spur is a grain elevator and cattle pens. It can take a lot of time to switch out these industries.

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I most likely put too much thought into the layout. I knew that I didn't have enough room to model even part of a subdivision of either NP or MIL and ended up modeling what could have happened right in the area where I live. A railroad need a reason to exist, so I tried to tie as many industries as possible together to generate traffic not only going to point beyond my railroad and onto staging tracks, but to other industries that were actually on my layout. I am a lone operator, but this layout could possible keep a number of operators extremely busy with local freight trains performing their switching duties, through train traffic, local passenger service and making up and breaking down trains in the yards at either end of the line. Another plus for freelancing a layout.

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